Harley-Davidson Drives Past Analyst Expectations as Company Reports Strong Q1 Earnings

By Thomas Price Monday, April 19, 2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic soon to be in the rear-view window as vaccination efforts across the globe continue to ramp up, business in industries that had suffered over the past year have begun to recover. This definitely has been the case for motorcycle company Harley-Davidson who recently released a much better than expected Q1 earnings report as motorcycle sales made a major rebound. As a result of the company reporting heavy increases in total business, Harley-Davison has seen a major spike in stock prices in early pre-market trading.

Closeup of a Harley-Davidson bike.

Harley-Davidson Earnings vs. Expectations

In the Q1 earnings report, the company posted a total consolidated revenue of $1.423 billion. The consolidated revenue generated for the business was a major jump from the same quarter last year, where Harley-Davidson only took in $1.298 billion. The new figure represents growth in total revenues of about 10% as sales across the major points of business for the company all saw a decent rise.

Alongside the increase in revenue, Harley-Davidson also posted adjusted earnings of $1.68 per share. In comparison to the earnings of $0.45 per share that the company posted during the same quarter last year, Harley-Davidson has seen its improved business model increase total earnings by a whopping 273%. On top of this, the company vastly outperformed analyst expectations which had only pegged the motorcycle business to post earnings of $0.88 per share.

The main reasons behind the resurgence of Harley-Davidson can be broken down into two major factors. The first of which has simply been the large overall increase in motorcycle sales over the course of the quarter, with global totals rising by 9%. North American motorcycle sales in particular were incredibly strong, rising by 30%.

The other reason is due to the major restructuring the business undertook in order to create a leaner operations model. The company reduced its overall portfolio by 30%, cut 700 positions, and dropped international focus to put more emphasis back onto its core customer base in the United States (US).

Future Outlook and Stock Market Reaction

Harley-Davidson also upgraded its annual expectations to account for a rise in motorcycle revenue between 30% to 35%. This is a marked increase from the previous guidance, which only suggested revenue growth between 20% to 25%. Harley-Davidson is also up around 8% in pre-market trading so far as many investors see the improved guidance and outperformed expectations as a major sign for the company moving forward.

In a statement released alongside the Q1 report, chairman, president, and CEO of the business, Jochen Zeitz, said, “I am very pleased with the pace of recovery that we have seen across our business, as demonstrated by the strong financial results this quarter. The actions we have taken to reshape the business are having a positive impact on our results, especially for our most important North American region.”

Zeitz later added, “We can see the initial signs of consumer excitement and optimism returning and I am confident Harley-Davidson in 2021 is a significantly leaner, faster, and more efficient organization which is ready to win and successfully deliver on our 5-year Hardwire strategy, as the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.

About the Author


Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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